6 August - Railway Day
6 August 1851, the emperor Nicholas I signed the "Regulations on the composition of the management of the St. Petersburg-Moscow railway." According to this document, several new companies were formed that were to exploit and protect the railway between St. Petersburg and Moscow. Telegraphic, conductor, and 14 military company workers were created. The total number of companies - over 4300 people.
In 1870, the railway teams, now serving not only near the capital, became part of the engineering troops. A few years later they were transformed into battalions. Soon after, the new kind of troops for the first time had the opportunity to participate in hostilities. During the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-78, the railway battalions for the first time launched the construction of new branches to support the fighting forces. Since then, no war involving our army has been complete without rail transport.
Shortly before the First World War, the railway troops became an independent structure with submission to the service of military communications of the General Staff. During the First World War, railroad specialists built more 4300 km of new broad and narrow gauge tracks, and also restored over 4600 km of roads. In addition, they built and rebuilt more than 5000 km of telephone and telegraph lines used on railways.
During the Civil War, the railway troops set a new record, having built and restored over 22 thousands of km of canvas. More than 3160 bridges damaged during the battles were repaired. Soon after the war, troops began preparing for the construction of new roads in remote regions. It was the railway troops who conducted the first surveys before the construction of the future Baikal-Amur Mainline.
The most important role of the railway troops played during the Great Patriotic War. They built and repaired a total of almost 200 thousand km of tracks, restored more than 75 thousand switches and almost 8 thousand stations. After the war, troops made a major contribution to the restoration of destroyed and damaged infrastructure. The soldiers, railway workers repaired the old canvas and laid new, built stations and other objects, up to residential buildings. Having completed the restoration of the destroyed objects, the railway troops began to build new ones. With their direct participation were carried out all the main construction in the field of railways.
After the collapse of the USSR, independent Russia reformed the system of railway troops several times. Until the middle of 90's, they managed to stay in the Ministry of Architecture and Construction, and then the Ministry of Railways, until they were made a separate Federal Service. Only in 2004, the railway troops returned to the Ministry of Defense, and soon became part of the Armed Forces of Russia. Being a key element of the Logistics of the Armed Forces, the railway troops continue to work on the construction and operation of various objects.
The editorial staff of the Military Review congratulates all former and current military personnel of the railway troops on their professional holiday!
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